If all the smoke we’ve had lately has been keeping you and your family from enjoying the outdoors, then you are not alone. This is especially frustrating for those of us who have children with allergies or asthma, or are just sensitive to the smoke. To help pass the time that we’re all stuck in the house when we should be outdoors, I’ve put together a list of fun things to do with the kiddos.

Play Games – This can be board games, card games, hide and seek or even video games. Just do something to engage your kids. A little healthy competition will help get their minds off all haze that’s taken over the valley.

Bake – This may not be the best for your waistlines moms, but I guarantee your kids will love it. My kids love cracking eggs, counting scoops of flour and mixing ingredients together. This is usually very messy, but also very tasty too.

Watch a Movie – Thanks to the smoke, it is darker out than it should be. So, take advantage of this. Turn the lights off, pop some popcorn and put in a movie. I love to watch comedies with my kids. The things they laugh at are usually different than the things I laugh at, and just listening to them laugh makes me laugh.

Build a Fort – This is kind of a pain - not so much to make, as it is to clean up - but, I have to say that it is also totally worth it. When your kitchen table is covered with blankets and the floor underneath is covered in pillows, only your imagination knows where it will take you. I have been on my kids’ space ship, in a tent in the desert and even inside a volcano.

Tell a Story – I was much better about doing this when my boys were younger. Almost every night I would make up a story to tell them. Most of the time part of the story was true, but then I would always throw in something funny, like my boys’ cat riding a bull in a rodeo. He would grab the bull’s ears with his claws and whip it with his tail and shout “Yee Haw!”

Try some of these things. You will be glad you did. You’re kids aren’t the only ones who need a break from the smoke, you do too. And, you just might be surprised at how much fun you have, too.

Joy Larson is a mother of four boys, graduate of The University of Montana, animal lover and writer.